This summer, lobelias have miraculously appeared in my garden. Their pretty blue and white faces greeted me by my backdoor over a period of days until I finally recognised the irregularity of their existence there. I hadn't planted any for at least ten years.
Obviously, these plants did not grow out of thin air. The previous plants left their seeds behind. But why did they decided to grow right now? The weeds have not had a problem growing in the intervening years - why didn't the lobelias grow?
Two things stood out with the potential to suddenly spark new life from these old seeds.
The first was that my husband replaced the retaining wall last year. Soil was shifted around, turned upside down. There was disturbance in the environment of the seeds.
The second was that we have had an unusually wet summer - more water to make it more suitable for these flowers to grow.
As is common for me, I felt God reveal something, to even give me a promise through what I see in my garden. It has a few parts.
The first is that we can feel as though we sow seed and sow seed and rarely, if ever, see much fruit or result from our efforts at times. I felt Him showing me that even when seeds we sow don't immediately produce a harvest, they are not wasted, that they can sit dormant in the 'soil' for many years until the conditions change - maybe someone's world is turned upside down; maybe there is a deluge - and then, suddenly, the seed grows and produces beautiful flowers.
Secondly, we are not the ones who can make the seed grow. The season needs to be right, the timing and situation need to be in the right order. We don't always know what this looks like, nor what will bring it about.
Finally, I didn't need to do anything to bring about this growth. I may get to sow seed, or even water it, but it is God who makes it grow (1 Cor 3:6).
All of this tied into a sense that has been growing in me over the last months. It started in Spring with a promise of greater fruitfulness; that the season of working hard for little fruit was over. We are starting to see that happen in the ministries I am involved with (and further afield), along with another promise - that it will not seem like work at all, but fun! Do you want to play too?
"This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow"
("Desert Song", Hillsong United)